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Features

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The mega department is back, and with it age-forgotten challenges. Executives must learn to manage division synergies, multiple ministers and diverging agendas

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Coordinating a coherent seamless departmental response in a mega organisation means getting people out of their silos and thinking beyond their usual remit. It can’t just happen around the table at departmental executive meetings — senior people with flexible policy brains, diplomatic skills and a capacity to walk effortlessly on eggshells are needed to make the process organic at lower levels.

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Federal public servants will soon have a ‘responsibility to share’ data for public benefit, but they need to lean on the experts and be careful not to overreach

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After a long period of consultation around upcoming federal data-sharing and release reforms, questions about consent and commercial use remain the most controversial. While a lot of researchers and policy-makers are keen to unlock latent value in the data held by the Australian Public Service, the need to maintain social license looms large.

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Cross-government collaboration by civil servants, for civil servants. Tips and tricks from collaborators that will help you turn visions into reality

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Attempts to support more effective coordination across government departments is not a new concept, and stories of failed attempts or at least only partial success tend to dominate. One of the key reasons for this appears to be the fact that government bureaucracies lack the “supporting architecture” needed to support joined-up-working. Thea Snow examines the success stories and sincere attempts of cross-government collaboration around the world.

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‘Magic’ policy transformation happens at the intersection of traditional sectors and digitalisation, and is why on-the-ground procurement behaviours differ between Australia and the UK

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Both the Australian and the UK governments have institutionalised limitations that mean policy and procurement simply do not join up, and there are currently no structural or process bridges in place to even look at how that can be made to happen. That's why any digital-transformational strategy needs a broad range of enablers that should come together in a cohesive industrial strategy, says Elizabeth Vega.

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Are we wise enough (smart enough) to survive our own success? If so, how can we all get along better? Practicing tolerance in the Age of Stupid

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I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them — Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus, 1676 The burden of unbounded knowledge weighs heavily on those with open minds. Those trapped within a specific moral code express righteous indignation that their beliefs should be […]

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Miriam Vogel delivered implicit bias training for Obama. Now she guides AI developers: ‘Many more lives are impacted by the bias of that black box’

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Miriam Vogel developed and led implicit bias training for federal law enforcement while at the United States Department of Justice. Tackling defensiveness is an important part of successful implicit bias training, she says. It’s really helpful to start by defusing that defensiveness and making it clear that this is a human condition, it doesn’t make you an evil person, it makes us human.